FACT What is Kidz Bite Back? SHEET 2009 Kidz Bite Back is a kid-created, kid-led, kid-spread campaign that promotes improved nutrition and increased physical activity. But it does it in a different way than the standard approach of adults preaching to kids about eating better and exercising more (usually pointing a finger during the lecture). This standard approach of adults preaching to kids has been used for decades, and it simply doesn’t work. If it did, the United States would not have a childhood obesity epidemic. How is Kidz Bite Back different from other campaigns? Our approach is very different. It begins by educating students how kids are being targeted by three industries that are promoting excessive consumption of poor nutritional foods (fast food, soft drink and junk food industries). We call them Big Fat Industries. We also educate students on how two industries are promoting sedentary lifestyles (natl. TV networks and video game companies). We call them Couch Potato Companies. After educating kids, we encourage and incentivize them to spread the word about Big Fat Industries and Couch Potato Companies. We want them to tell their friends, families and neighbors. Kidz Bite Back is about kids spreading the word to other kids. It’s not about adults preaching to kids. Are you telling kids not to eat and drink fast food, soft drinks and junk food, or not to watch TV and play video games? Absolutely NOT. We’re not the food police. We’re not telling kids not to eat or drink fast food, soft drinks or junk food. It’s tasty stuff. We eat it. But ONLY in moderation. We’re not the screen police. We’re not telling anyone not to watch TV or play video games. We watch the good stuff on TV and play the cool video games. But ONLY in moderation. We promote moderation. We want these industries to also promote moderation, instead of promoting excess. We’re all about moderation. Aren’t you picking on Big Fat Industries? No. Big Fat Industries – fast food, soft drink and junk food industries – target kids with billions in advertising, marketing and free toys to get them to eat and drink their stuff all the time. In other words, Big Fat Industries are promoting excessive consumption, which for most people is unhealthy. Besides, Kidz Bite Back does not tell kids not to eat or drink fast food, soft drinks and junk food. Moderation is our mantra. Aren’t you picking on Couch Potato Companies? Couch Potato Companies – natl. TV networks and video game companies – target kids and promote sedentary lifestyles. In fact, these companies have engineered activity out of our children’s lives. Besides, Kidz Bite Back does not tell kids not to watch TV or play video games. Moderation is our mantra. Do kids really spread the word about Big Fat Industries and Couch Potato Companies? Yes. Kidz do a great job spreading the word. After seeing Big Fat Industries 102 / Couch Potato Companies 102 presentations, kids become Kidz – and they are literally smarter than most adults on the topics. Kidz Bite Back encourages Kidz to educate their families, friends and neighbors on Big Fat Industries and Couch Potato Companies. Students get cool gear – tee shirts, book bags, key chains and other stuff – for spreading the word. So your child likely will want to teach you a few things they learned – and you’ll be surprised at how much they know. What level of students participate in Kidz Bite Back? Kidz Bite Back is for 4th and 5th graders. How many schools in Tampa Bay have Kidz Bite Back? In Tampa Bay, there are 16 elementary schools participating in Kidz Bite Back - eight schools in Hillsborough County and eight in Pinellas County. In its first year in Tampa Bay (2007-2008 school year) Kidz Bite Back has been wildly popular among students, parents, teachers and principals. What are the results of Kidz Bite Back? Kidz Bite Back was a pilot program in South Florida for three years. During that time, 10,000+ students, their parents, 500+ teachers, 50+ principals participated in Kidz Bite Back. Students reported eating healthier, exercising more and eating less fast food. Parents reported their children exercised more, ate healthier foods, and ate less fast food and junk food. In Tampa Bay, Kidz Bite Back is being evaluated more extensively by the University of South Florida, College of Public Health as a potential national model. Are other counties and states interested in Kidz Bite Back? Yes. Numerous Florida counties are interested, as well as other states. As Kidz Bite Back gains attention the number of communities that want it also increases. The attention Kidz Bite Back is obtaining: National Association of County and City Health Organizations (NACCHO) identified Kidz Bite Back as a national model and received the national award Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness identified Kidz Bite Back as a promising practice How is this relevant to a student’s education? The Kidz Bite Back campaign falls into the category of ‘educated consumerism,’ which is part of Florida’s education standards (called the Sunshine State Standards). Kidz Bite Back wants children to be educated consumers who know how to identify corporate marketing tricks and gimmicks, in particular the ones used by Big Fat Industries and Couch Potato Companies. Also, Kidz Bite Back does not take classroom time (which is the main reason teachers love Kidz Bite Back!). Campaign activities take place at school or after school. What skills do students learn from being involved in Kidz Bite Back? Some of the skills your child can acquire from being part of Kidz Bite Back: Leadership skills Group and team building skills Presentation skills to large and small audiences Independent thinking regarding advertising to kids (also known as educated consumerism) Good nutrition habits Good exercise habits Age-appropriate activism Creating thinking and brainstorming In-depth knowledge of fast food, soft drink and junk food marketing to kids In-depth knowledge of natl. TV networks and video game companies marketing to kids What if a student/parent does not want to participate in Kidz Bite Back? Your child’s participation is purely voluntary. If you think your child should not participate, please let your teacher know and your child won’t be a part of the campaign. What about parental responsibility? The creators of Kidz Bite Back are also the creators of Parents Step Up – a campaign coming soon to Tampa Bay. The premise of Parents Step Up (Spanish version is Familias en Marcha) is that although there are many influencers of childhood obesity – like Big Fat Industries and Couch Potato Companies – parents are ultimately responsible and accountable for their children becoming overweight and obese. But, Big Fat Industries and Couch Potato Companies are making if very difficult on parents by promoting excess, instead of moderation. By being a part of your child’s involvement in Kidz Bite Back, parents will learn just how difficult these industries are making it for them to raise healthy children. For more information, please visit www.parentsstepup.com The campaign was piloted in South Florida (separate from Kidz Bite Back) and was proven successful in raising awareness among parents for their responsibility for their children becoming overweight or obese. Why is Kidz Bite Back aimed only at 4th and 5th graders? Our research indicates that younger kids don’t understand the messages at the level necessary to fully absorb and pass along to others. And, most 4th and 5th graders are at a point in their health that lifestyle changes can be successfully made and adhered to for a lifetime. Unfortunately, as kids get older and become teens, they become more set in their ways and it is more challenging to get them to change their ways (much like adults). Will other school districts be able to get Kidz Bite Back? Yes. There are numerous Florida school districts, as well as school districts from other states, that will be visiting our 2008-2009 school year campaign to observe and determine how to implement it in their community. How is Kidz Bite Back paid for? In Tampa Bay, program funders are: St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Hillsborough County Health Dept. Pinellas County Health Dept. Allegany Franciscan Ministries Blue Foundation of Florida (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) How are adults involved? At each school, there is a teacher who coordinates the Kidz Bite Back campaign – this person is called a School Advocate. In each county, there is a County Coordinator that is a liaison for the schools. The partners and sponsors include: St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Hillsborough County Health Dept. Hillsborough County School District Pinellas County Health Dept. Pinellas County School District Allegany Franciscan Ministries Blue Foundation of Florida (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida) Also, there is an advisory board comprised of representatives of the program sponsors and partners. How does a school get the Kidz Bite Back program? Currently, there is only funding for eight schools in each county. If a school is interested, please contact Marissa Rappa at St. Joseph’s Children’s Advocacy Center at 813-615-0589 X 706. Questions? Comments? Kidz Bite Back welcomes your feedback. Go to www.kidzbiteback.com and click on contact us and let us know what you think.